Over 240,680 low-income earners in Western Kenya are set to benefit from quality and affordable health services following an initiative by the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) to upgrade private facilities in informal settlements.
Slum dwellers will now access all services available in public and referral hospitals including cervical and breast cancer screening, maternal ultrasound scanning, dental services, child welfare and laboratory services at their nearest clinic.
According to KMET managing director Monica Ogutu, the initiative dubbed ‘Huduma Poa’ meaning better services is aimed at providing the poor with better health care services at their door steps.
Speaking during the launch of KMET social franchise brand, Mrs Ogutu said partnerships with local banks and other organisations will ensure owners of health facilities receive loans and technical assistance to equip their clinics.
“We have disbursed Sh30 million entry loans to the health facilities. The cash is used for purchase of medical equipment and expanding the clinics to bigger health care facilities,” Mrs Ogutu said.
About 90 health facilities in the region now have modern medical equipment including ambulances.
Since the inception of the programme three years ago, many private clinics have been able to access loans through the support of KMET. The clinics get up to Sh4.2 million from the bank and repay after three years.
Among the beneficiaries of the revolved loan funds include Nightingale Clinic in Nyalenda which has been upgraded to a maternity health care facility, Milimani and Godswill in Kisumu which have also been upgraded to nursing homes and now have inpatient services.
According to the KMET quality health care financing programme coordinator, Martin Odero, most of the doctors operating clinics lack access to capital.
Mr Odero said the loans issued to small health facilities will not only assist in the upgrading of the clinics but also enable the owners get technical skills on how to operate their businesses.
Low income earners will also have access to family planning and other services at affordable rates.